tv The War Room With Jennifer Granholm Current February 29, 2012 9:00pm-10:00pm PST
>> all right, all you political junkies out there welcome to the war room. i'm jennifer granholm. the gop field is scrambling ahead of super tuesday can anyone stop mitt? polls show that rick santorum has a sizeable lead in ho i how and types. then tonight congressman barney frank is in the war room. we will talk liberal politics in washington and massachusetts and maybe the future of the democratic party. it's one of the most powerful conservative he organizations you've never heard of, highjacking legislation at the state level.
you'll find out what alec is all about and why it needs to be stopped. this is the war room. come on inside. s. voters in 10 states take a step closer to choosing the candidate that will challenge president obama in november. ten states, 437 delegates. it's a big chunk. however, rick santorum needs to perform well in at least four of them. i want to talk to you about this for one second. georgia, oklahoma, tennessee and ohio. those four states alone just look at those four states alone 243 of the delegates. big time. oklahoma, by the way has 43
delegates. there's been no polling in the last week there. santorum is expected to do well in the conservative states. he he's leading romney by a whopping 21 points in tennessee. that poll was done before last night. we'll see that the momentum romney has does to that. ohio, a crucial state in the general election, a new poll there gives santorum a solid 11 point lead over romney in next week's primary. the biggest prize in terms of delegates is actually georgia. now, the latest polls show that santorum is trailing news gingrich in georgia. ahead of romney, we're looking at gingrich with 34% santorum, 25% and romney 22%. a week is a lifetime in this republican primary. rom know has a lot of work to do if he hopes to win these states.
now for a very unique perspective, we turn to washington and the great liberal icon hero of mine, personally, barney frank. late last year, congressman frank decided not to seek reelection after being in congress more than 30 years. so glad to welcome you into the war room. thanks for joining us this evening. >> thank you jennifer, i'm very pleased to be here and really happy with your show and glad to have a chance to participate. >> well thank you. we appreciate it. we want to be an alternative to some of the other right wing shows up there. we're unabashed in terms of our perspective. i want to talk about the news of yesterday and today senator snowe's announcement that she is retiring. it took people by surprise, like your announcement. today, she cited the hyper systems fear in congress. i wonder if that caused you to
make your significance and what your comment or thought is on her decision. >> the hyper partisanship didn't effect me. in fact, i had been thinking about retiring a couple of years ago when the republicans took over i sort of temporarily reversed my decision because i felt this was fight i didn't want to walk away from. we lost a congressional seat. when they redrew the lines, i was given a district to run in that was substantially different than what i have now and but part of it comes down to this. i pride myself on constituent service. i was now confronted with a situation where i would be asking 325,000 people i don't now represent to give me their votes but only for two years and i didn't honestly -- it wasn't a situation because i never plan more than that. i'm going to be 72 in a month. i don't want to be there when i'm 75. there's other things i want to do.
i've already waited pretty long. the atmosphere is there. it's hyper partisanship and one stoked by the media and it does make it hard to get things done, but the particular problem for senator snowe is she was one of the few remaining republicans not to get captured by this right wing movement. the republican party today for the part couple of years in the united states is the most idealogyically ridge individual key he'sive party we've had in america. i get asked from time to time who do you want to see be nominated. i would say gingrich, he would be weaker, but at this point there's no difference, except for ron paul who has his own very unique set of views but santorum, gingrich and romney are trampling each other in the move to the right. >> they're trying outrace each
other. that has translated has it not into some of your colleagues in congress, you see the tea party members who have come with the very purpose of obstructing the agenda of the president. >> well, they don't believe in governance. they don't believe in a rational world, you have a private sector that creates wealth, a public sector that does some things that we need to do together for the quality of life and there's legitimate tension. the conservative party a liberal party on the other side. we've got a group now outside that consensus outside that. they do not understand the importance of a public sector that sets rules provides compassion and does things for the quality of life. the tragedy is that they've taken over the republican party. people have said to me are you saying that all the republican party are tea party members. no. half are but the other half of terrified of losing a primary to a tea party member.
you deal with michele bachmann or somebody losing to a bachmann clone. >> it's very depressing to hear. let me ask you, i was watching a very charming interview you did with jimmy kimmel. you said the worst part of being in congress was having to fundraise. what is the worst part of fundraising? >> one is the sheer amount of work. you're asking people to do this. when i was in the midst of fundraising for myself and as chairman of a committee or senior democratic to do for others twice a week i'm up for 8:00 breakfast adds extra time to the day. the main problem is this. human nature being what it is, it is very hard to take money from strangers and then ignore the fact that they gave it to you, but as you know, you were a candidate, a successful candidate. >> i hated fundraising too
hated it. >> that's what we have to do. we're the only people in the world expected by the system in which we operate to take large amounts of money from stainingers on a regular basis and have it have no effect on our behavior. i try very hard to do that, but it is a difficult process. it's also time-consuming in a way that you would want to work on other things, but the whole nature of asking other people simply to give you money that's not a normal way for people to live. >> well, and so, you know, you've got the dodd-frank bill has been slowed in terms of enforcement by a lot of corporate pressure and there's been a lot of discussion about how much wall street has been giving to people who have been trying block the implementation of it. is the corporate influence and their ability to fundraise making it impossible for government to do its job? >> well, in some ways, yes. the corporate people themselves, the financial people know better. i am critical for this reason,
if you have a congressional republican party today that is outside of the mainstream of thought, you have people in the house, they don't believe that there is any problem with climate change. they are really homophobic. you have the federal reserve. ben bernanke, a bush appointee he has been working and was originally doing this with other bush appointees, they have been now with some obama appointees, trying to stabilize the world financial situation and working to do to keep europe from having a crisis that will rebound negatively on america. they're being attacked by right wing members of congress. people in the big banks and big investment housings are funding these extreme right wingers
because they're so angry at us because we dared to suggest that we needed rules to keep them from the kind of irresponsible practices that caused the problem. >> we're going to have a session about a group called alec from many of the interests trying block the legislation. do you think i mean richard cordray had to have a recess appointment. do you think the filibuster has become a weapon in congress that should be eliminated? >> absolutely, and i blame some of the democrats as well, when the democrats were in power they should have done something to change the rule. the constitution makes it very clear that a majority is supposed to rule in the senate and it makes it clear by stating in a couple of cases where you need more than a majority. legal principal overwhelming legal principle is this. if you state an exception it
takes two thirds to do a treaty and constitutional amendment the rule is that it takes a majority to do everything else. you have a inbat of government to function. that's not neutral. that's in the right wing's interest. they don't want to see an effective government. they don't want government fix the roads or clean the air or extend health care. this notion that it should take 60 votes and the filibuster was used only in extreme situations. this notion that it takes 60 votes to do anything is a major reason why our government has become incapacitated. >> couldn't agree more. congressman, i'm going to jump topics. i want to get your opinion and your observations on this. you obviously served for massachusetts. mitt romney was governor of massachusetts. is mitt romney going to win massachusetts. i love your views on him as
governor. >> i believe he will win massachusetts. the republican party of massachusetts and he obviously had a long relationship and there's a certain -- people want to see the hometown guy do well. it did not do as well for him in michigan. he won but very narrowly. that was not a great victory. as a governor, he was -- he pretty soon after becoming governor, first of all he was a faker. he ran for governor claiming that he was somewhat moderate, and as soon as he got elected governor it was clear that he wanted to be president. he had not much interest in governorship. >> another more moderate republican said we've got some with potomic fever.
he moored further and further to the right. a alarming part of the district i was representing was in southeastern massachusetts and is a very economically troubled area, because it used to be low ends manufacturing garments and textiles in particular and was trashed in american trade policies. you need public-private cooperation in an area that's been hurt that way. romney ignored it. i don't think he knew it was there in bristol county, massachusetts. he paid no attention. these were the kind of hard-working people trying to get into the middle class or stay in the middle class that he talks about and he could not have been less interested in them. he could not have paid them any less government attention. >> the irony and i can tell you this when i was governor of michigan, he was on a health
care committee with me and he was bragging of course about what had been done in massachusetts and how this could be a model for the nation. you were obviously representing massachusetts at the time. weren't people assuming, i mean wasn't the talk that this was going to vault him to -- vault his ambition and be a model for the nation, wasn't that the assumption? >> yes senator kennedy worked closely to him and people voted against him saying he was going to be better on gay rights than senator kennedy but the -- but we didn't think it was going to vault him to the presidency, probably because we thought the republican party has moved further to the right. that was almost an aberration. one of the major economic interests in massachusetts' health care, health care for us in massachusetts is not something we consume as people. you have the hospitals medical
instruments, the research that's done, so working to expand the health care is something you would do as an economic thing not a social thing. it must have been that's what was motivating romney, but it was certainly the case that he's now, of course -- well, let me say this, kind of a technical term for the way he approaches his role. he lies about it. >> well, it's very interesting because the movement that he's made is obviously been the subject of a lot of conversation. today, he said that he was against the blunt amendment, of course a blunt amendment allowing any employer to be able to not offer health care if it's against their conscience and an hour later back tracked and said he misunderstood. i'd like to have you listen to a sound track. just one second, i'll get your reaction on the other sided. >> i'm not for the bill. the idea of presidential candidates getting into questions about contraception
within a relationship between a man and a woman husband and wife, i'm not going there. >> but of course now his campaign came out immediately and said well, of course he's for the bill, jumping all over it. i just wonder is there a place for moderate republicans anywhere? i mean even if he had an instinct to be somewhat moderate, he had to jump back on it. >> well, the word we get from olympia snowe is no. that's why she left. she's 65 years old pane years left of active service. she is saying you cannot be a moderate and maintain your dignity in the republican party. i hope there will be -- we are talking about mainstream conservatives. david brooks wrote in the new york times monday or tuesday first drove out the moderates then the compassionate conservatives, now the
mainstream conservatives and only the most radical right wingers are left. the only way it's going to change is if they lose this november. if the right wing is such that they are successful with some degree in november, republicans are going to say that's their party forever. i think they won't be. >> i do, too. >> we make, you know, people are unhappy with some of the things that obama has done, although i think if you look at the record, by the way we saw a great chart today from the federal reserve board chaired by a republican appointee, ben bernanke. you see unemployment in 2006 and 2007 under bush, it got worse and worse and 2009, significant improvement. not yet where we want to be, but if you look at the hole we were in obama was getting blamed for what he inherited but the point is simply now the extreme right wing nature of the republican party shown by the house they can't even pass a highway bill,
shown by this presidential scandal, they've discredited themselves where they will lose big in november. >> we have a big poster that says occupy the majority and we appreciate the chance to have you be on to show people how it should be done. i know that you've got a good candidate in the wings that we hope will occupy your seat, as well. congressman barney frank thank you so much for joining us. >> joe kennedy iii would be great, i would be happy to have him sub seed me. >> more on the war room, right after this. this is countdown south forgot the name of the show p.m.
of action called shut down the corporations. this is organized by occupy portland. these demonstrations are specifically targeted at corporations that fund a right wing group called alec. the american legislative exchange council. it is a mechanism for the nations 1% to influence what happens at the state level. some recent controversial pieces of legislation to come out of the states, like arizona's tough immigration law and wisconsin's law fearly limiting the collective bargaining rights of public employees those laws originated with the american legislative exchange council. alec is an association of state legislators and corporate representatives who design legislation to be replicated in states across the country. an estimated 2,000 state leming lateliors are members.
it's state mission is an agenda of limited government, free markets, federalism and individual liberty. according to the center for media and democracy 98% if it's more than $7 million in annual revenue come from wealthy conservative donors look b.p., exxon mobil and industry trade organizations. ales legislative priorities included "privatize education break unions, deregulate major industries, pass voter i.d. laws." a look at voter i.d. laws demonstrates the organizations effectiveness. 34 states have introduced voter i.d. bills. in 2011, seven states signed them into law. the brennan center for justice
estimates that 11% of americans don't have photo i.d.s. these laws could disenfranchise those voters in the upcoming election. the more they can control who votes, the more republicans they can elect who share that conservative agenda. this bill mill is in overdriver according to alec's web side claiming: >> but some progressive state lawmakers fighting back. just this year, representatives in wisconsin and arizona introduce the legislation they hope will expose the inner workings of the american legislative exchange council to the public. in january arizona representative steve farley introduced the accountability
act of 2012. he urged the house to pass it last week. >> all of us here are very familiar with alec and the unflience it has with many members here. every session several pieces of alec-related ledge lace are adopted as arizona law. if we get an idea for a bill i think our constituents deserve to know where it came from and the circumstances around that. my amendment would require groups that proposed modeled legislation and lobby legislators here in arizona or around the country to register as lobbyists in arizona. >> alec has been on a roll. now steps are being taken by progressive politician and groups like occupy portland to expos alec's unfettered access to state lawmakers. >> we're going to take a closer look at the alec controversy with a
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>>this is outrageous! [[vo]]cenk uygur calls out the mainstream media. >>the rest of the media seems like, "ho-hum, no big deal." we've have no choice, we've lost our democracy here. just refreshing to hear. no other television show does that. we're keeping it real. >> representative joins us from washington. welcome to the war room. >> thank you jennifer, glad to be here.
>> so you have seen alec's effect on wisconsin's laws first hands. some might say what's the big deal, it's just another trade group, what's the problem? >> it's way more than a trade group. this is, you know, one of the most powerful lobbying organizations i've ever seen. they pass an enormous amount of legislation. it's not legislation that's in the public interest. it's all corporate special interest legislation and the fact that they're effective in so many bills bad for the public and operate in the shadows we need to expose them. >> give me an example of the impact they've had on wisconsin law you. >> sure. well wisconsin with the uprising last year, all the collective bargaining changes came from alec, all the pension law changes came from alec, all the photo idea laws came from alec all the tort reform legislation. all these bills are specifically done for corporate profit and
corporate power. that's what they do. that's the mission. they're funded by the corporations for the corporations. >> so you've got a bunch of legislators members of alec and they go to these conferences and they get sort of model legislation handed out not just in wisconsin but all these other states. you actually crashed one of those alec meetings. can you tell us a little bit about what you saw? >> sure. if you've ever been to a speed dating event it's like a corporate speed dating event. they take these special interests and try to match them with the objects of their affection, the state legislators. if the legislation works out you'll have the culmination of special interests legislation. it's matching special interest and legislators at private parties and lavish events. they write model ledge reaction, give it to legislators, tell them how to pass it and get it
passed. the public has no idea. it happens behind the scenes. >> it's not just specific to wisconsin. i know as governor of michigan, i saw a lot of stuff come through that may not have even had any relationship to what was going on in michigan or at least to a need that i perceived that was out there. a lot of this legislation is model legislation that's actually copied from state to state but passes through because there's an agenda and somebody behind it, right? >> yeah, basically there will be a special interest that wants to advocate something company create for profit or increase environmental legislations and cookie cut it and give it to lidge laters across the country and fix it to your state statutes. one of the things they said on education bill, don't just introduce one bill, because you can build opposition. you have to introduce 14 bills as part of a package and that's how to dismantle public
education. they write the bill for you. it's about as easy as connecting the dots. >> here's what's interesting to me is that the agenda also includes pushing volar i.d. laws. i want you to listen to sound bytes from one of the founders of alec from way back in 1980. his name is paul wyrick. listen to this. i'd like your reaction after. >> they want everybody to vote. i don't want everybody to vote. elections are not won by a majority of people. they never have been from the beginning of our country and they are not now. as a matter of fact, our leverage in the elections goes up as the voting pop lass goes down. >> that had tells me it is a complete and total strategy on the part of some to suppress the vote especially of those they don't want to speak
democratics, for example. >> they want to pick their voters. they don't want the voters picking their candidates. and when you take out seniors and people of low in come and students, you take out a lot of democratic voters. that's why they have photo i.d. laws. in wisconsin even an absentee voter has to get their photo i.d. copied in order to vote. it's one of the country's most restrictive laws. they want to take away democratic participation. >> you introduced a bill, this alec accountability act. tell us what that does. >> we've done this in arizona wisconsin, minnesota and new hampshire are looking at it, making them register as a lobbyist expose free trips. if you're a lobbyist, that has to be reported. we'll know who's getting these trips, getting paid for by the
corporations. you would never give tax paying money to a lobbying organization. pretty basic and simple, shines the light on a group operating in the shadows and it's completely in the public interest. >> alec is pushing a conservative agenda but says it's non-partisan. are you a member? >> i joined to get the password to find out the legislation. i went to the conference, i was a lonely guy i didn't get invited to the parties. they wine and dine you and ultimately they get a lot of people bringing back these really bad special interest bills. >> do they allow democrats to even be on the committees where the legislation is defendanted? >> in fact, i sat through one of the committees task force on fiscal policy. i would never get put on there it's all conservatives. half the community is
legislators, half special interest you. need a majority vote of each half. the corporations vote on the legislation they write and the legislators are a bit player. it is so formed by the corporations that it's almost ridiculous. >> i'm saying, representative, thank you for joining us to help us expos this terrible stuff. >> up next, big money is having a huge a influence on this election cycle. not just alec, but who's giving it, what do they get for it? your answers are right here in the war room.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m.m. this is countdown south carolina. forgot the name of the show p.m.
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>> if you want to make a selection about restoring american greatness then i heap you'll join us. if you believe that the disappointments of the last few years are a detour and not the destiny of america i'm asking for your you support. i'm asking for you to go on mittromney.com and pledge your support in any way possible. >> that was mitt romney pleading for money after his very expensive win in last night's michigan primary. the delegates were split 15-15 between him and santorum, so there's a question about what a
win means but between his campaign and the super pack, romney spent $3.5 million on ads in michigan. compare that to santorum who spent $2 million. where do the candidates turn when they are burning through money? >> i wanted to welcome you bat inside the war room. we are here talking about money. mitt romney, at the end of january, had just $7.7 million in the bank. he is spending it like water. he is not taking as much in as he has been spending. the question that i have because he's so wealthy, is it harder to raise money for a wealthy candidate? >> it's certainly much harder. the big distinction between
romney and what barack did in 2008, you have more maxed out donors more people given all they can give. back in 2008, we had more people who had given $200, $25 the lowest grass roots fundraising average in the history of presidential politics. we can go back to them over and over and over again as the campaign heated up and ask for just a little bit more money. once you're maxed out he has to find more people, because they're done. >> that's when they're giving it directly to a candidate, of course. if you're giving it to a super pack, you can write a check to yourself as a candidate. i love the way you call the president barack. all the fundraisers do this. it's a good way to tell. you get close to somebody who you're raising money for and a lot of people you're trying to convince. so the mechanism for raising
money is called bundle be. can you describe? i'll start with you. >> we have 110,000 people on our mailing list. there was a sort of mini move on for the bay area. we have people of every stripe and persuasion, and we reach out to them in a totally open-ended way and say if you would like to go to this event we've got a great event with barack a couple of weeks ago there was a $100 price tag if you'd like to come. bundlers are inside of that network saying i've got 10 friends, i've got between friends, i've got 25 friends. they reach out to this mini network. >> and they get them to come to this event. >> get them to come and it can be a table at a dinner or it can be just 25 people in the back row of the masonic auditorium. it's anybody reaching out to their set of friends to bring in
some cash for the candidates. >> emily's list does it differently. tell us about the mechanism. >> we do. bundling's an interesting thing. emily's list that started 27 years ago really was at the forefront of starting the idea of bundling. emily's list is an organization that went to a network of women donors so support pro choice democratic women's candidates. we did it through the mail, direct mail in the mailbox came from a friend of yours asking for $100 for the organization and considered two one hundred-dollar checks to to candidates. we had to go to the federal election commission to allow that to happen 27 years ago which is the opening of what we now see as moveon.org, pccc. >> what is that? >> congressional campaign committee, doing great great
work and partners of us in a lot of things. >> when i was running for my reelection emily's list supported me. you know this. i had a republican legislator and they proposed legislation to prohibit money from emily's list on my behalf. >> as an organization, doing it as long as we have, we still do direct mail. we do it on line, now and with a million members at emily's list, you can hit that email and it comes in. >> so this headline from today which is obama to raise more than $4 million with four new york city events seems like a heck of a lot of money for one trip to new york. is that a blockbuster some. >> oh, it's certainly a great event. when you compare $4 million to what carl rogue is saying, i'll do 250, wait a minute, 250 450
on and on. it is so important that people give as much as possible through the normal process with full disclosure, full accountability, the ads have the candidate saying i approved this message as opposed to i have no idea who put this ad on. >> this goes directly to the candidate. how hard is it for democrats to compete against some of these republican super packs? >> it's certainly much harder. there's a very small percentage of corporations, forget about people, but corporations who actually control their board of directors have unlimited access to unlimited amounts in very partisan ways. >> steve jobs would never do this. hewlett packard would never do this. >> that's so interesting. >> you only need 1% of corporations on the out liers who will spend 10s of millions of dollars to distort the political process. that's what people need to understand. it's not the fortune 100 or 500
it's about a handful of small corporations that can highjack the national political process and ruin guys like newt gingrich who you might like or not like but i don't think he should have lost because of a handful of people making contributions. >> do we need a constitutional amendment? >> i think the supreme court is going to reconsider citizen's united and i think there is a great piece of legislation about amending the corporations code in california. >> state by state. >> state by state can matter. when you actually look at the facts and if you read citizens united they assume facts that are clearly untrue and proven untrue in this election cycle. i think we're going to see a second bite at the apple. >> i this i we're going to see a big bite at that. >> there's another case through the state of montana that may make it to the united states supreme court. >> to reevaluate. ok, you are going to hang on
here. we're going to talk about electing women. thank you so much for joining us. we really appreciate it. we may have you back to dive into it a little bit deeper. this money stuff is not going away. >> if you are a democratic politician and a woman and pro choice, simply put you are going to be on the front lines of the social war. we're going to get stephanie's thoughts on that and more right after the break. you are in the war room, only on currenttttttttttttttttttttttttt
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>> you better believe it. we are on it. >> i want to start out by asking you this had panel no women at the panel when the issue was contraception. rush limbaugh had comments about the one woman whose was invited and appeared on the second panel, susan fluke. he called her a slut today and then he added to that. i want you to listen to what he said after he called her that name. >> she's having so much sex she can't afford the contraception she wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex. what does that make us?s? we e weee pitches.. >> i d d't'tveknow howowoo you respond to something like that. >> there are just no words. there is no place in our political discourse. there is no place in this country for this kind of
language, this kind of conversation. it is outrageous. we desperately need women to stand up, run for office. we need to win these races add pro choice democratic women to congress and around the country because we need our voices heard here. >> it seems there is just a rash of legislation and maybe just because i'm following it more closely. when i was governor, they tried to get a bunch of stuff through but what's been actually getting through in texas in virginia, that bill came through with a slight modification. the same thing happening in pennsylvania, around the country, all of this very, very intrusive legislation that's happening which again speaks to the importance of electing women. now, emily's list has historically focused on statewide offices and members of congress. does it -- is emily's list looking at any of these state
legislative offices? >> absolutely. emily's list for the last 10 years have been training women to run for the legislature all over the country. a lot of the women we have running for congress today have come out of that pipeline program that we started 10 years ago, and we definitely realize that we have a lot of work we need to do. these pieces of legislation that are moving in these state legislatureles against women the war against women that was really i go nighted under the republican control of the house last year, this has been going on really since john boehner took over the house. it started immediately and it was with tearing apart the health care reform bill, defunding planned parenthood, it's been non-stop. >> we heard a segment about alec providing conservative issues that corporations think are
important. is it right to life offering the pattern legislation that we're seeing in these states? >> there has been a movement for a long time, and governor, you saw some of that getting pushed through by the radical right wing of the religious conservatives of the republican party. what has happened in the last year is that this kind of faction of the party is literally pushing the entire republican party into a social site on issues when we know that the voters want to talk about the economy. >> so tell me quickly what are the big races that emily's list is looking at this time? can you give me it in a nutshell? >> we have a historic number of women running for the united states senate. we are behind 11 women. we've never had that happen. we're hoping for record numbers in the power plays. women are standing up to say
enough. >> you've got elizabeth warren. >> baldwin in wisconsin nevada, we've got to keep people like claire mckassical. >> from michigan. >> the only way we're going to sub seed at emily's lift is if women and men around this country who are ready to stop this war on women and get these women elected. this is how we're going to stop this. >> and contribute to emily's list. >> come on over to emily's list. >> thank you so much for coming. appreciate the work you do. >> still a lot more a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a a >>this is outrageous! we've have no choice, we've lost our democracy here.